I am an Associate Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. I am also a Visiting Fellow in the Program on Pluralism and Civil Exchange at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Since 2021, I have been a host of the Keeping it Civil podcast, which is a co-production of ASU and Arizona PBS featuring conversations with leading national thinkers on topics related to civil discourse.

Originally from New Zealand, I studied Political Science, Economics, International Relations and German literature at Wellington, Tübingen, Berlin and Minnesota. Before joining ASU I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.

My research focuses on the economic origins of democracy and democratic stability, and the politics of authoritarian rule. Several of my projects study the political consequences of transitions from agrarian to industrial society. I am also interested in how authoritarian regimes construct secret police agencies to repress dissent. I have a special interest in the history of democracy and dictatorship in Germany and Central-Eastern Europe.

Currently, I am researching secret police agencies under communist regimes. My book comparing the secret police in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

My first book, Food and Power: Regime Type, Agricultural Policy and Political Stability was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019. I am also author or co-author of articles in academic journals such as Perspectives on Politics, Political Science Research and Methods, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly and Comparative Politics

For a list of my published work, click here. For my curriculum vitae with a full list of work in progress, please click here. You can find ungated versions of my published papers here. You can find replication data for my published work at the Harvard Dataverse or ASU Dataverse.


Arizona State University

School of Politics and Global Studies

Coor Hall

975 S. Myrtle Ave

Tempe, AZ 85282